Capital Repertory Theatre in downtown Albany is presenting something called It’s a Wonderful Life: Live from WVL Radio Theatre from November 22 to December 22.
The description reads: “Meet George Bailey and all the residents of Bedford Falls as you’ve never seen—or heard— them before! Based on the classic Frank Capra film, this story comes to life as a live, 1940s radio broadcast. Five actors give voice to all the memorable Bedford Falls characters, accompanied by sound effects and music created live on stage.”
As part of my subscription to Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, I picked this show. But my wife wanted to go, and my daughter agreed to. We couldn’t get three seats together, so I sat with my daughter.
But the house was only half packed. On December 1, a winter storm was predicted. As we left church around 1 pm, there was a crew from The Weather Channel setting up at the entrance of Washington Park at State Street and Henry Johnson Boulevard. It seemed peculiar then since only a few flakes had fallen.
It was one of those peculiar coincidences. The premise of the play was that most of the cast of the radio theatre was snowed in while out of town. The sound effects guy decided that the show must go on, and recruited the station manager’s daughter, and two actors still in the area, to do all of the parts.
This included performing the commercials for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, Pepsodent toothpaste and Chiquita bananas. Not only do I remember the ads, but I also have the clips on a CD.
Have you seen the movie?
One’s enjoyment, I suppose, depended partly on one’s knowledge of the source material. My daughter has never seen the film about how Angel Second Class Clarence attempts to earn his wings. My wife, who turned me onto the movie, had some difficulty keeping track of all the minor characters the four actors played. It worked rather well for me.
incidentally, my wife sat next to the mother of the young woman who played the station manager’s daughter. The mom flew in from Seattle. She and my wife had a lovely chat about the life of a traveling performer.
Then we drove home, very slowly. State Street hill was mighty treacherous to climb. A car was spinning its wheels by the state Capitol at Hawk and Washington. It is possible that a couple red lights were, um, ignored.
Nippertown: “It’s a Wonderful Life: Live From the WVL Radio Theatre” Brings Christmas to Capital Repertory Theatre.